Grammar Lesson: The Infinitive and Infinitive Phrase
- The third type of verbal, in addition to the participle and the gerund, is the infinitive. An infinitive is composed of the word to plus a verb. Examples of the infinitive include to remember, to cuddle, to pacify, and to yodel.
- An infinitive phrase is composed of the infinitive, its modifiers (or describers), and all the other words that are needed to complete the idea begun by the infinitive.
- To stay up later was the child's wish. (noun—subject)
- Lorene desired to be a doctor. (noun—direct object)
- My cousin's goal was to make the New York Yankees. (noun—predicate nominative)
- Henry's ultimate goal was to make other people happy. (noun—predicate nominative)
Infinitives can function as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
- To succeed is Ted's goal. (noun—subject of the sentence)
- Franklin's goal was to succeed. (noun—predicate nominative)
- Melissa wanted to succeed. (noun—direct object)
- Kelly has the drive to succeed. (adjective—Which drive? the drive to succeed)
- Kelly will endeavor to succeed. (adverb—How will Kelly endeavor? to succeed)
- The musical to see is Oklahoma!as (adjective—Which musical? Oklahoma!)
- The strong lifeguard swam out to save the struggling swimmer. (adverb—Why did the lifeguard swim out? to save the struggling swimmer)
Activity- The Many Uses of the Infinitive Phrase
Underline the infinitive phrase in each sentence. Then indicate on the line before the sentence if the infinitive phrase is used as a noun (N), adjective (ADJ), or adverb (ADVB).
- ____ Claudio left early to meet his brother.
- ____ Haley's dream is to revisit Europe.
- ____ To collect the entire series of presidential cards is my goal.
- ____ All the students were excited to display their artwork.
- ____ Kate's determination to teach well is quite obvious.
- ____ Patsy likes to listen to Broadway tunes.
- ____ We walked to the pizza parlor to buy some Italian hero sandwiches.
- ____ My relatives were the most important people to invite to the ceremony.
- ____ Eloise did try to call you last night.
- ____ Sheilah was very excited to participate in the contest.
- ____ The best way to improve your performance is no secret.
- ____ Is this the proper way to hold the musical instrument?
- ____ The finest way to memorize the poem is through practice.
- ____ Lenka opened the book to find the correct answer.
- ____ To do all of her illustrations well was Maureen's goal.
- ADVB—to meet his brother
- N—to revisit Europe
- N—To collect the entire series of presidential cards
- ADVB—to display their artwork
- ADJ—to teach well
- N—to listen to Broadway tunes
- ADVB—to buy some Italian hero sandwiches
- ADJ—to invite to the ceremony
- N—to call you last night
- ADVB—to participate in the contest
- ADJ—to improve your performance
- ADJ—to hold the musical instrument
- ADJ—to memorize the poem
- ADVB—to find the correct answer
- N—To do all of her illustrations well